# Any ideas for physics labs?

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Well, as the title says, our teacher told us that we had to do a lab on heat transfer and global warming. I'm not half bad at designing a procedure, but I have absolutely no idea of what to look at in the lab. Our school doesn't have much in the way of equipment, but we do have turbidity sensors, heat sensors, and barometers, as well as the rest of the physics stuff. Anyways, anyone know of any testable relations or ideas that relate to heat transfer or global warming that could make a good lab? We're allowed to take ideas for research questions from wherever, provided we make our own specific question and procedure, and carry it out ourselves, drawing our own conlcusions. Any help would be seriously appreciated.

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Well, you can carry out an experiment to determine the specific heat capacity of water.
I drew an apparatus that you could use: [attachment=2616:mail.google.com.jpeg] (maybe put the picture in the procedure).
You should use a fixed mass of water (preferably distilled water so that it has no impurities) and heat the beaker with an electric heater (Voltage = 10-12 approx.) and measure the temperature every 30 seconds. As you also have an amperimeter connected to the device, you can use the formula (Q = V x I x t (time) ) to calculate the heat evolved from the electric heater. Remember to record the initial temperature so as to be able to find the diff. in temperature for every interval. You can now use the formula Q / m x diff. in temperature to find the specific heat capacity of water. For a better answer you can plot a graph of Q (V x I x t) against mass x diff. in temperature and calculate the gradient of the curve (with the use of Microsoft Excel). This value will be the specific heat capacity of water.

Note: There are many significant errors in the experiment such as the heat lost to the surroundings.

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That's not a bad experiment for thermodynamics, although it does seem a tad simple but this one has to be on topic 6, which is efficiency, heat transfer and global warming. It's also an HL lab so they're expecting something that isn't too easy. That's also the reason I'm stuck on it currently.

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If you want to measure efficiency, you can plot another graph of temperature against time and you can calculate the amount of heat lost to the surroundings. By comparing the literature value for the sp. heat capacity of water and the one you have obtained experimentally you can see whether if the heat loss accounts for the difference between the two values.

P.S. For the graph of temperature against time, you will have the maximum temperature to which your system arrived and then it will start to decrease (once you stop heating the water with the electric heat). The curve will begin to fall (up to a point where it is practically linear) so then you can extrapolate the graph and use pythagoras' theorem to determine the heat loss.

Edited by Hedron123

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